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25 March 2008

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According to statistics released by the Defence Ministry, over 2,500 LTTE cadres have been killed by the military since 1 January 2008, and more than 7,200 Tigers have been killed since December 2005. The government’s Media Centre for National Security reports 6,867 Tiger fighters and 1,501 soldiers have been killed since the start of 2006. The centre says the armed forces’ losses since the first of January 2008 number 186.

Sources
2,500 Tigers killed since January 1, The Hindu, 25 March 2008; Number game clouds Sri Lankan war, BBC, 21 March 2008.

Quotations

“If you add up all the figures given by the government from the beginning of the separatist war until now, it would have wiped out the population of the north twice over…Similarly if one were to adopt the figures put out by the Tamil Tiger rebels, that would have depleted the ranks of the military considerably.” Iqbal Athas, Sunday Times, Colombo and correspondent for Jane’s Defence Weekly.

Related news items
“Sri Lankan warplanes bombed rebel-held territory in the north of the island for a third consecutive day on Thursday, and the Tamil Tigers said a teenage girl had been killed in the air raids. The military said so far [in April] 399 Tamil Tiger rebels, 34 soldiers and 16 civilians have been killed in clashes, while the air force has carried out 11 raids during the month.” Source: Tiger rebels say Sri Lanka air raid kills girl, Reuters, 17 April 2008.

“Tamil rebels killed at least 100 Sri Lankan soldiers in the nation’s bloodiest battle in 18 months on Wednesday, the separatists said, as the military claimed more than 100 rebels died in the fighting. … At the start of the year, the military said there were only 3,000 Tiger rebels left. Latest official defence ministry figures, which include Wednesday’s toll, show that 3,073 Tigers have been killed by security forces this year. During the same period, the military has lost 223 soldiers, according to the defence ministry.” Source: Over 200 slain in Sri Lanka’s bloodiest battle in 18 months, AFP, 24 April 2008.

“Meanwhile, a Sri Lanka Army (SLA) source, which didn’t wish to be named, verified that 104 dead bodies were initially recovered by the army and more than 400 were wounded. The source further said at least 150 soldiers were killed in action. In the meantime, a Colombo bound passenger said he had seen 12 bus loads of dead and wounded soldiers being rushed to the runway in Palaali military complex.” Source: 150 SLA killed, Tigers locate 28 SLA bodies in Northern Front, TamilNet, 23 April 2008.

“The English-language Sunday Times said Sri Lanka’s top army general Sarath Fonseka told a briefing of military commanders last week that 2,000 troops were killed and 4,000 injured during in 2007, compared to an official tally of 213 dead and 829 injured. “I myself was not present at that meeting. But we did not have so many casualty figures last year,” army spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told AFP in refuting the newspaper story.” Sri Lanka military denies report that 2,000 troops killed in 2007, AFP, 5 May 2008.

One comment for “25 March 2008”

  • prashan said,

    Why does this war of numbers persist? Does anyone believe the casualty figures published by any party, that always seem to show that they have killed more, injured more or destroyed more than the ‘enemy’?

    Is this simply blatant public relations, giving the illusion of progress in a long, protracted conflict?

    Should we believe that one party will one day have reached some magic number? Killed enough? Wounded enough?

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